Akila Dananjaya celebrates after dismissing Kane Williamson at the Galle Intl Cricket Stadium in Galle on Wednesday. Ishara S. Kodikara/AFP
New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson won the toss and elected to bat in the opening Test against Sri Lanka in Galle on Wednesday.
The Kiwis return to Cricket action in the World Test Championship after their heartbreaking World Cup defeat to England last month.
Rain in the island nation hasn’t helped New Zealand in their preparation ahead of the two-match series but Williamson expects his players to rely on their past experience.
“Rain most days, so hasn’t been a huge amount of Cricket and preparation. It’s important guys pull in their past experiences and just look forward to the challenge ahead,” Williamson said at the toss
“Pulling out the Test blueprints that are important to our game, despite not getting the build-up to the Cricket that we would have liked before hand. It’s important we make the adjustments quickly.”
The Kiwis have opted for two seamers, Trent Boult and Tim Southee, while leaving out Neil Wagner, who took nine wickets in their last Test match.
Dimuth Karunaratne-led Sri Lanka have left out Dinesh Chandimal, despite his recall to the squad after a sixth-month exile, giving wicketkeeping duties to Niroshan Dickwella.
The hosts have also left out Oshada Fernando and Vishwa Fernando, two of the heroes from their series win in South Africa in February.
“It’s a good turning track. We need to get the basics right and bowl the right line and length,” said Karunaratne.
“Last time we played in South Africa, we did really well. We need to keep the momentum and compete with New Zealand.”
Sri Lanka: Dimuth Karunaratne (capt), Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Kusal Perera, Niroshan Dickwella, Dhananjaya de Silva, Akila Dananjaya, Lasith Embuldeniya, Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Kumara
New Zealand: Kane Williamson (capt), Jeet Raval, Tom Latham, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, William Somerville, Trent Boult, Ajaz Patel
Umpires: Michael Gough (ENG), Richard Illingworth (ENG)
TV umpire: Bruce Oxenford (AUS)
Match referee: Andy Pycroft (ZIM)
Galle: A fighting half-century by wicketkeeper-batsman BJ Watling helped New Zealand to take a highly competitive lead of 177 at stumps on day three in the first Test match against Sri Lanka in Galle on Friday. New Zealand, who trailed Sri Lanka by 18 runs in the first innings, finished on 195 for seven and a target around 200 could prove tricky
No team have successfully chased more than 99 runs at Galle, giving the visitors hope they can be victorious at the ground for the first time ever after three previous losses.
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